To reduce the density of the university community, Shenandoah has established outdoor classrooms throughout campus.
These classrooms come in the form of gazebos, tables with umbrellas, and large tents. Perhaps the most notable are the six large outdoor classrooms, which consist of four tents and an area of gazebos outside Smith Library on the main campus, along with one tent at the Health Professions Building. The large outdoor classrooms on the main campus are located near the Armory Building, Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre, Sarah’s Glen, Smith Library, and Lot D near the Brandt Student Center. Each space is equipped with tables, chairs, hand sanitizer and Wi-Fi.
In Shenandoah’s first week of the Fall 2020 semester, approximately 40 classes were held in these outdoor classrooms.
I think it’s great. Having a different physical context for the classroom can stimulate different thinking and perspectives. As someone who loves the outdoors, I’m biased towards these spaces.”
Keith Jones Pomeroy, M.A, director of civic engagement.
Jones Pomeroy has already taught two sections (14 to 18 students) of his FYS class, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility,” in one of the large tents on campus. One of the main benefits is that students can experience class together — in-person and at the same time.
“I used Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre – Tent A, and it fit everyone comfortably, something my classroom wouldn’t,” he said. “Also, fresh air is an obvious plus.”
Tina Kulow, ’24, has already had five class sessions outside through her First-Year Seminar, acting, and voice & speech courses. She said she really likes the outdoor tents.
I think they’re a very creative way to spread people out and avoid congestion inside campus buildings. They provide the ability to have the entire class in person instead of having half of us on Zoom, which can be really stressful and confusing. They’re much better than just a general, ‘let’s have class outside,’ because they’ve got real tables and chairs set up and a roof in case it rains! Even though there are probably more distractions outside, I think the tents are a really good solution to the problem at hand.”
Tina Kulow ’24